Will I be able to build a day trading PC on my Own? Yes, and you can too if you follow my process.
Here is my PC building story from start to finish. Hopefully, I can help if you decide to build a new trading PC in the future.
When I worked as a network engineer back in 2000, I felt like I could strip a computer/server down and piece it back together. Nowadays, components are way more advanced, but the building process remains the same, well, sort of.
Reasons For the New Build
At the beginning of 2021, my PC started to show some signs of problems. This included several blue screens. I believe this was caused by a memory slot change on my motherboard. I’ve tried several different things to resolve it and without a warranty on the machine, it is safe to say a new machine is in order. So, let’s give it a shot.
The PC Research
After some heavy research on YouTube and other outlets, I really started to dig in and find some components on pcpartpicker.com. I created my first PC on paper without fully knowing what I needed. I then decided to call a couple of different PC manufacturers. Each of these companies builds PCs for daytraders. They both sent me quotes that were built specifically for Tradestation trading.
For what it is worth, quote one was for $2950, and quote two was for $2480. Each of these units was similar, including a new graphics card. Not the best card, but it is still one of the items I didn’t need for my purchase. By using the two different quotes as a reference, I pieced my own system together.
PC Parts I’m Using
Listed below are the parts I purchased, where I bought them, and how much I paid. Shipping was free except for the case, and I did have to pay tax on all components. The prices I paid will roller coaster from this day forward, so try to get the best deal possible. I also included some links to the pages, so try to use them to help support my site.
CPU – Intel – i9-10900k 10th Generation Processor 3.7Ghz – $519
The CPU is probably the number one component when comes to building your PC. It also dictates which other parts you will need. I’ve been an Intel user since 1995 and I wanted to give AMD a shot this time. After speaking to a sales rep about building the trading PC for Tradestation he immediately suggested I go with an Intel processor over the AMD. This was mainly due to how the Tradestation software is utilized by the processor.
Does this mean I couldn’t use AMD, no? From their experience, they have benchmarked Intel to work better with the Tradestation platform. He also stated that I didn’t need the highest-end processor. More speed and more cores won’t help me today or in the near future.
The install went super smooth. I only had to unpackaged the chip and place it in the motherboard. Simple.
Motherboard – ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-E GAMING – $299
Why this board? This board is way more than I needed, but after extensive research, I really liked what I saw. It will also allow me to upgrade to the 11th generation Intel processor if I need to upgrade. It is built tough and provides a lot of cool little features. It has a fairly straightforward BIOS that made seeing all of my components easy to read.
The install process of the motherboard was way easier than I thought. Plugging everything in did require some patience. I wish some of the little plug headers were labeled a little better.
Memory – G.Skill TridentZ RGB Series 32GB DDR4 3200Mhz – $159
Some memory is better than others and the G.Skill TridentZ is one of the best. It does offer a little flair to the system with its on-chip memory RGB. Assuming you have a good motherboard, spending money on good memory will help you in the long run.
One of the easier components to install on the motherboard, so there really isn’t much else to say. Make sure you read your manual to see what kind of channel configuration you will need. This is critical if you want it to work properly.
Storage Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 1TB – M.2 – $155
Storage has come a long way since I started working with computers. This M.2 drive is the size of a small bookmark and fits right on the motherboard. The motherboard I selected protects the drive with a heat shield. I can also upgrade to another stick if I wish. I like having a lot of options and these drives provide that.
A super simple install with a little screw.
Power Supply – EVGA SuperNOVA 850 Ga, 80 Plus Gold 850W – $150
Cables are the biggest pain when it comes to building the PC. I wouldn’t say it was easy to get all of the plugs where I wanted them to be, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The cables were somewhat rigid, but I was able to manage my way through it and get it hooked up.
Cooler – Noctua NH-U12S chromax.Black – $70
I could have gone all crazy with the funky lights and water pump coolers, but I decided to go with a reliable cooler that provides what I need, performance. The cost was right in line with where I wanted to be. If you decide to go with a water cooler and pump, do your research. Remember, you may face more cable management and fan location issues.
Using a straight-up tower cooler was fairly easy to install. I configured the correct mounting plate, added the thermal paste, and screwed in the cooler. It does have a fan and you can add a second fan if you are going to overclock heavy.
Case – Fractal Meshify C – $99 + Shipping
This was the last component delivered to me during this whole process. Since they don’t have an Amazon Prime deal, they shipped it directly from Texas. A lot of time products will mark up their products to cover shipping. For the Fractal unit, you may see a lower price, but shipping will be added on.
I wasn’t overwhelmed when I opened the box. The good news is, it feels like it was built right. There are some nice case features that you can read all about on their site. The cable management was fairly easy to work with as well. Although this is my first case purchase, I can honestly say it is good quality and you’ll be happy with the purchase.
Operating System – Windows 10 Pro 64bit – $149
Always go with the 64bit and I recommend pro if you want to login to your PC using a remote desktop. Find the cheapest Windows key however you can.
The install was a bit different than what I’ve done in the past. A simple USB drive made the process go really quickly. Also, check YouTube for tips on how you should install Windows. It could save you some hassle down the line.
Video Card – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 TI – Previous PC
GPUs are essential when it comes to gaming/trading and right now they are so expensive. Since I’m using this PC for daytrading, the GPU I had on hand will be great for my needs. Yes, it is missing some of the better features the new chips have, but I don’t need those right now.
The install was a matter of locking it in the PCI slot and running the proper cables from the PSW.
Total Cost Excluding Taxes – $1600
*** Remember, I didn’t need to purchase a video card, which can be the most expensive component of the PC.
Getting the Boxes
It didn’t take long for the equipment to arrive. Amazon is really good like that. Other than the Case, everything came within three days of ordering it online. The case was purchased from Amazon, but the dealer, Fractal, shipped it separately from Texas and it took 6 days. No big deal, but it did slow down my build process.
Putting It the PC Together
It was definitely fun receiving all the boxes over the course of a couple of days. The price you pay never feels good, but the potential to save a lot of money was well worth it. Yes, the research and nerdish video watching got a little old. Some of these guys on YouTube really know what they are talking about. Without these videos, I definitely would have had a harder time.
I won’t go into the step by step of building the PC since there are so many good videos that will do that for you. I’m going to quickly cover what stood out for me in my building process.
You definitely need a solid workspace to build the PC. A really good light source so you can see inside some of the smaller areas of the motherboard and case is key. Take your time. Read the manuals. Understand what you are getting into.
Start with the Simple Three. CPU, Memory, and M.2 drive. You can get these installed in a matter of a few moments. Of course, be cautious of how you install these components.
Once you get those components installed you need to figure out what type of cooling system you plan to use. I decided to go old school with reliability when it came to the cooler. As mentioned above, this cooler looks pretty tough. It is fairly large in size, but the nice thing is it wasn’t too difficult to install. The radiator units with water pumps are cool, but they do require a little more effort. The whole RGB thing will be up to you.
I had to wait several days to get my case. Without it, I couldn’t continue with the build. In the meantime, I created a Windows 10 Pro 64bit USD drive. This didn’t take long at all but was necessary once the build was done.
I finally opened up the case and started to plan out everything. It was pretty straightforward. They give you almost everything you need to piece it all together. I hooked up the power supply and made sure I ran as many cables as I needed.
I got the motherboard installed and locked down. Depending on your case, you may have to install the standoffs for the board.
Those front panel connectors are a pain. Why they don’t just make a standard plug is a question many ask?
I did have to install the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 TI and plug in the cable from the PSW.
I did have some minor issues with the fan headers and not having interfere with the looks of the interior. I then began to tie down wires in the back so it looked clean.
After everything was hooked up, which took about an hour, it was ready for the first test. I plugged in the power and pressed the power button.
Just like that, I had a working PC. The first post was a great feeling.
I made sure everything was showing up in the bios. I saw my memory, CPU, hard drive, and video card. Things were moving right along. The next thing I did was install Windows. Be sure to check out videos with some great tips on how to avoid the crap Microsoft wants to install.
The long process of updating drivers and software went on for a while. Once all of that was complete I was ready to get to work.
Overall, not a bad experience. I did run into some minor bumps, but if I can do it, so can you.
PC Build Video
Here is a little more detail about why I selected certain components. Although most of the information is in here, the video may help clarify some things.
The Best PC Build for TradeStation
Is this the best PC for trading with Tradestation? I’ll let you know in due time. I could have shelled out even more money for parts, but it wasn’t necessary. There is always an upgrade somewhere. In the end, It should give me a couple of years of solid trading. Should the Tradestation software change and it is able to use more power, I will definitely upgrade where I can. Speed is key in this game and I don’t want to blame anything on my PC.
Would You Do It Again?
Yes, I would build another PC. I know a lot more now than I did when I started. With all of the videos on YouTube and sites willing to help, you can figure it out. Once you start going down the PC rabbit hole you can find yourself consumed with information. This may hold you back from a sweet rig. As long as you don’t get carried away, stick to a budget, you will be ready to trade in no time.
If you have any questions about my build or building a PC for daytrading at Tradestation, ask in the comments below. Good luck with your PC building adventure.